Please welcome Contributing Editor Candi Gershon as this week’s guest blogger!
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s time to start on those Valentine gifts if you haven’t already. I love making valentines, but with two school-aged children, we are making 40. I want them to be cute and clever, but I need them to be easy and simple enough to mass produce.
On top of those, we have teacher’s gifts that we like to make special as well. My kids love to bring in special things for their teachers, and valentines are no exception.
This year, while strolling through my local craft store, my son and I spotted these heart shaped cookie cutters and we had to have them. Immediately I thought they would make cute Valentine’s Day ornaments and a fun craft. We punched a couple holes in the top with our trusty Crop-a-dile, attached a photo covered in Mod Podge to the back, added a sticker for a shadow box effect, and strung some ribbon through it. Voila! I know a few grandparents who would love to have some of these.
For the teachers this year, I decided to make clipboards. What teacher can’t use a clipboard? I have been painting a lot lately and knew this would be a fun way to create an original gift that is useful as well. I started by applying a layer of gesso (found at your craft store) on the clipboards (just to be sure the paint had a toothed surface to stick to). Once that was dry, I added a coat of white paint, then a coat of green, then pressed pink painted bubble wrap onto the surface, then we scraped some blue and brown on the edges for added color (using an old credit card to scrape the paint). Finally, I used trusty Mod Podge to add a bird and quotes I had printed onto cardstock. I also added a branch that I cut out from brown patterned paper, and a heart I punched out. I then added letter stickers spelling the teachers names and a final coat of Mod Podge. Ribbon was the final touch. The kids love these clipboards and can’t wait to give them to their teachers.
Once the clipboards were finished, it was time to work on the classroom valentines. My kids like to give out candy, so our first step is always to find the candy we are passing out. This year we were very excited to see heart-shaped chocolate-covered Peeps. We knew instantly what our gift tag would say. Every year I take a picture of the kids holding a sign of some sort (sometimes it’s a large shaped felt heart, this year it was a blank poster board). I add the text through my photo-editing program, as my kids have completely different font choices.
My son is getting to the age where the valentine has to be “cool” or he’s not into it. This year he requested I forgo a ribbon and just staple his card on because ribbons are too “girlie”. I thought this was a great idea (and actually quite the timesaver). The cards we attached are just wallet sized, so they are easy and reasonable to make quite a few.
The important thing is to just have fun. We always lean on the simple side as between homework, afterschool activities, and just life in general, there isn’t always a ton of time for detailed craft work. Not to mention, when you are crafting with kids, they tend to lose interest completely if things get too difficult.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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